AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Dustin Johnson is taking a leave of absence from golf to seek help for "personal challenges," a swift end to his season that will keep him from playing the PGA Championship, the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Ryder Cup.
In a statement Thursday from Hambric Sports Management, the 30-year-old Johnson said his leave of absence was effective immediately. It did not indicate how long he would be out, though agent David Winkle told the PGA of America he would not be at the PGA Championship next week or the Ryder Cup at the end of September.
"I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced," Johnson said. "By committing the time and resources necessary to improve my mental health, physical well-being and emotional foundation, I am confident that I will be better equipped to fulfill my potential and become a consistent champion."
He asked for privacy "as I embark upon this mission of self-improvement."
Johnson, who tied for fourth in the U.S. Open and tied for 12th in the British Open, was No. 5 in the Ryder Cup standings and virtually certain to earn one of nine automatic spots when qualifying ends next week at the PGA Championship.
As long as he stays in the top nine, he will be replaced by the next player in the standings.
"We will certainly miss Dustin Johnson at Gleneagles, and we wish him the best," U.S. captain Tom Watson said. "As one of the longest hitters in the game with an undefeated record of 3-0 at Medinah in 2012, he has clearly been an asset for the United States team. That said, the United States is a team with an abundance of talent."
Players at the Bridgestone Invitational said they were surprised by the announcement.
"If anything, I just hope this is the start of something really, really positive," Zach Johnson said. "And I don't know what happened. I don't know what the specifics are, nor should I know. That's none of my business. I feel for him."
Justin Rose called it "big blow for the tour."
"He's always been a charismatic player and popular player out here," Rose said. "He's not going to play in the Ryder Cup. That will be a blow for the American team. Just wish him well, whatever he's facing right now. Can't be easy for him."
Johnson played poorly in his first Ryder Cup at Wales, not winning a match until the final day in singles. He was the only American to go undefeated last time in Medinah, winning both fourballs matches with Matt Kuchar and handily beating Nicolas Colsaerts in a singles match.
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